03/21/12 Roasted Asparagus Soup

"Non si fanno frittate senza rompere le uova." (You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Roasted Asparagus Soup
  -Steamed Artichokes with Salsa Verde
  -Mushrooms and Spinach with Truffle Oil

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 Recipe: Roasted Asparagus Soup

Roasted Asparagus Soup
Zuppa di Asparagi Arrosto


5 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (14 to 15 cups)
4 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 4 large)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cups (or more) chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 small garlic clove, minced


Preheat oven to 425F.

Combine asparagus, leeks, and olive oil in very large bowl; toss to blend.

Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast vegetables until asparagus pieces are soft and leeks are golden, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes; cool on sheets.

Spoon 1/3 of vegetables into blender; add 2 cups broth.

Blend until smooth.

Transfer to large pot.

Repeat 2 more times, using half of remaining vegetables and 2 cups broth for each batch.

Warm soup over medium heat, thinning with more broth by 1/2 cupfuls, if desired.

Season with salt and pepper.

Mix parsley, lemon peel, tarragon, and garlic in small bowl for gremolata.

Ladle soup into bowls.

Sprinkle with gremolata and serve. Makes 8 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Steamed Artichokes with Salsa Verde

Steamed Artichokes with Salsa Verde
Carciofi al Vapore con Salsa Verde


1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
1 anchovy fillet
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar

4 medium globe artichokes
1/2 lemon


Heat small skillet over medium heat.

Add fennel seeds and toast until aromatic and beginning to darken, about 2 minutes.

Transfer seeds to processor.

Add parsley, capers, shallot, garlic, tarragon, anchovy, and crushed red pepper to processor.

Puree until coarse paste forms, scraping down sides occasionally.

Transfer to medium bowl.

Whisk in olive oil, cream, and vinegar.

Season with salt and pepper.

Lay 1 artichoke on its side and cut off top third; cut off stem at base of artichoke.

Using scissors, cut top 1/2 inch off each remaining leaf.

Rub all cut surfaces with lemon, squeezing slightly to release juice.

Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Place rack on bottom of large pot.

Add enough water just to touch rack.

Bring to boil.

Place artichokes on rack in pot.

Reduce heat to medium, cover, and steam artichokes until tender, adding more water if necessary, about 30 minutes.

Transfer 1 artichoke to each of 4 plates.

Cool 10 minutes.

Divide salsa verde among 4 small bowls and serve alongside artichokes. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Mushrooms and Spinach with Truffle Oil

Mushrooms and Spinach with Truffle Oil
Funghi e Spinaci con Olio di Tartufo


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
10 ounces button mushrooms or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, chopped
1 and 1/2 9-ounce bags fresh spinach leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons truffle oil


Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms; saute until brown and liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes.

Add shallot; saute 2 minutes.

Add spinach, 1/3 at a time, to skillet with mushrooms and toss over medium-high heat, allowing each batch to wilt slightly before adding next, about 2 minutes per batch.

Saute just until all spinach is wilted and heated through.

Stir in 1 teaspoon truffle oil.

Season with salt, pepper, and more truffle oil, if desired.

Transfer to bowl and serve. Serves 6.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news resources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure, a sample of today's edition:

Ugly Italian Mothers Withdraw Kids From School In Protest Over Hot Teacher

Bologna - March 18, 2012 - Four sets of furious parents have pulled their children out of an Italian nursery school after it emerged that one of the teachers posed for model calendars as part of her extra curricular activities.

Michela Roth, a 38-year-old American who has lived in Italy for years and has children of her own, often poses for model shoots during the summer holidays when she returns to the US.

She has won several beauty contests, including Miss Mamma Italiana and Miss Culetto d'Oro (Miss Golden Ass), raising eyebrows and tempers in the tiny town of Castello di Serravalle near Bologna in northern Italy.

"She’s too beautiful and I don't want her teaching my son," one indignant parent told the local newspaper.

But Miss Roth insists that parents who object are simply jealous and old-fashioned.

On her Facebook page their are pictures of the mother of one at the beauty contest as well as her kick boxing in micro-shorts and small top, while she describes her status as 'complicated'.

"I'm always photographed in clothes, I'm never nude," she told the local newspaper. "For me, being a model is a second job, and I do it especially during the summer when the school is closed. But I love being a teacher, that's the main objective in my life. Those who know me can vouch for my professionalism both as a teacher and a model.

"The parents who have withdrawn their children are trying to convince other parents to do the same. I was expecting a bit of criticism, but I could never have imagined it coming to this."

An online poll conducted by the paper showed that the majority of readers were more sympathetic to the teacher than to the disgruntled parents (83 per cent vs 14 per cent), with three per cent who were unsure.

Look, Michela appears to be a very competent and ambitious woman. You can tell she likes to suck in life.

She understands teaching in Italy is one of the lowest paid professions. And, "mamma mia", why anyone chooses this profession willingly is beyond us. If you are someone who has to take a second job, what does it matter what the hell the job is.

Italian teachers today are a diverse and unattractive group of people from both sexes. However, they all share the same challenges:

- The work day is close to 10 hours long,
- They are at the mercy of the little Italian "figli di puttane" they teach,
- And they have to find crafty ways of explaining the child's results to parents without resorting to, "it could be you're a mule at parenting".

But "minchia", if you can just reach one child... eh, how does the rest of that hilarious saying go?

And why can't the dear mothers just keep quiet? "Per favore, Signore." They know perfectly well:

- they could get back into decent physical shape if they want. We've checked you out at the local schools. Just because you're married and have kids doesn't mean you have to look like you're in your eighth month of pregnancy.
- the other teachers are socializing instead of working. They walk arm to arm through the hallways and in front of the buildings...like elephants in a circus that walk tied from trunk to tail.
- that their husbands are hungry and their clothes dirty.

So, here's to you, Michela! "Forza, bella! Vi amo!" Click here to view Michela's delightful credentials.

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